A few weeks ago the Economist ran a briefing on 3D printing and it’s effects on mass production, alongside an equally good leader article. While it is general in its nature, there are elements in the article about jewellery manufacturing.
Overall, the article both provides a current snapshot of the readily available state of the art in rapid manufacturing, as well as introducing to the general public how current trends in 3D printing are affecting the way commercial and industrial goods are manufactured. They’ve even mentioned in passing a commonly reiterated point about 3D printing’s particular strength in the area of small scale mass production versus using traditional mass production on short product runs.
I’m listing it here as a useful reference for those jewellery CAD/CAM users who may want somewhere to start when communicating to others what the fuss is about with 3D printing.
It seems even with old-fashioned fine jewellery techniques, innovation is still possible.
With their new Merveilles collection, Swiss jeweller Boghossian has unveiled an entirely new diamond setting technique they call merveilles setting. Within this setting, the surrounding stones play as much a part in holding the diamonds in position as the metal itself.
See for yourself:
The technicians at FormLabs have written a first rate article on painting and applying clear-coats to 3D printed models to turn them from prototypes into sellable parts.
Considering just about every other area of product design makes use of paint jobs for finishing parts, it make sense there are likely CAD jewellery designers out there who would find this technique useful for their work.
For the latest instalment of Something Beautiful in Jewellery, I’m presenting two pioneers of 3D printed contemporary art jewellery design.
Most people in jewellery now seem to accept CAD/CAM as a fact of life, especially with all the new design possibilities it provides. But even 10 years ago this was not the case. Back then, while there were a few mass production jewellers quietly working to incorporate CAD/CAM into high street jewellery making (myself included), but most creative designer makers considered CAD a dirty word.
There were only a handful of intrepid designer-makers who not only insisted on using CAD and 3D printing for their jewellery and objets d’arts, but embraced the early forms of the technology for all its production quirks. I’m showcasing two such designer-makers today, one British (Jo Hayes-Ward) and one American (Bathsheba Grossman).
Ring by Jo Hayes-Ward
Pendant by Bathsheba Grossman
It seems we have recently started seeing a big momentum change in the fields of wearable tech and smart clothing. Recent innovations in embedded RFID technology (as I discussed back in 2012), cost-efficient 3D printing for accessories (as I’ve also been following here), and new materials research have finally come together to create a proper trend in wearable technology innovation.
The InnovateUK Blog has written a good overview of the many different directions of wearable technology research happening now.
But there is so much more going on right now in many fields of accessory design and experimental fashion. While some of the immediate applications are clearly more practical than others, all of them show the commercial possibilities we’re only just barely starting to explore within these technologies.
At the recent autumn 2015 TCT 3D Printing Exhibition, product artist Lionel T. Dean of Future Factories gave an interesting lecture on 3D printing as an enabler and driver of creativity.
It’s worth a listen:
In all the years I’ve been writing this blog, I haven’t come across very many good case studies involving using 3D scanning to assist in jewellery making. It seems like such a sensible way of going about working alongside antique jewellery, but limitations in technology (as we’ve discussed here previously) continue to prove an obstacle.
All this makes this latest article from TCT Magazine a happy surprise. It seems one of the engineers at 3D Scanning company Physical Digital found a way to make 3D scanning work for him to help reverse engineer his fiancee’s grandmother’s ring to use as the basis of designing something of his own.
See for yourself. It’s an interesting story.